Can I Put a Fan in the Trash? (SOLVED)

It’s not always clear what to do with old fans once you no longer need them.

Can I put a fan in the trash?

Yes, you can put most fans in the trash. You can also donate, sell, or recycle your fans. Before you place your fan in the trash, remove any hazardous material. Also, check with your local waste management company to make sure that you follow all regulations and laws.

The rest of this article gives specific information about how to get rid of your standing fan, electric fan, and ceiling fan.

How To Dispose of a Standing Fan

(This post may have affiliate links. Please see my full affiliate disclosure)
Yellow dumpster and trash—Can I throw a fan in the trash
Image by author via Canva—Can I put a fan in the trash?

There are several ways to dispose of a standing fan.

A standing fan includes a floor fan, box fan, and tower fan.

You dispose of a standing fan by selling it, donating it, recycling it, or throwing it away.

Disposing of Your Fan Through Selling It

You can try selling your standing fan before you throw the fan in the trash.

Why not make a little money from your old fan—especially if you want to get rid of it anyway?

I think this is a great option.

You can try selling the fan on:

  • Craigslist
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Amazon
  • eBay

You can also post your fan for sale in your online neighborhood groups.

This can help your neighbors while also putting a little money in your pocket.

Of course, you could also try to sell your fan to one of your friends or family members.

Disposing of Your Fan By Donating It

Another option is to donate your fan.

You can donate your standing fan by taking it to a local thrift store.

The thrift store will sell the fan so that they have some extra money.

You can also donate fans to church ministries, homeless shelters, and other nonprofit organizations that assist families in need.

This option can benefit your community.

Standing fans and window fans are great to donate. You might even be able to donate a ceiling fan.

Disposing of Your Fan By Giving It Away

Then again, you can always give your fan to a friend, family member, or neighbor for free.

Essentially, this is another form of donation.

If you are just looking to get rid of it, giving your fan away might be the best option.

Simply ask people you know, “Could you use an extra fan?”

Most of the time, someone will really appreciate your thoughtful generosity.

How To Dispose of a Broken Fan

What if your fan is broken? How do you get rid of it then?

Many fans can be repaired, then sold or donated.

For example, you might be able to fix a switch or cord. It’s not important to understand how to fix fans before you try this option.

If you can’t repair your fan, someone else probably can. The vast majority of the time, old fans can be repaired and reused.

If your fan is broken beyond repair, you can put it in the trash or recycle it.

Can You Put a Ceiling Fan in the Trash?

Yes, you can put a ceiling fan in the trash.

However, not all ceiling fans can fit in a garbage can (even if you take them apart). You are probably better off donating or recycling your ceiling fan.

Just make sure that you remove any electronic parts or hazardous materials.

How To Dispose of a Ceiling Fan Motor

Your best bet is to donate your entire ceiling fan or bring it to a local recycling center.

Another option may be scraping the motor for metal.

Check with your local scrap yard to see what you can and can not scrap.

Can I Put a Fan in a Recycling Bin?

You can recycle most fans.

Your fan probably has aluminum, plastic, or steel that you can recycle.

The easiest way to recycle a fan is to take it to a local recycling center. At the recycling center, they will make sure aluminum, plastic, and steel are recycled.

If you live near a college or university, they may also have recycling programs for appliances.

For example, at one university I contacted, staff members recycle fans in order to help the school save money. That way the school doesn’t have to buy new ceiling fans when one goes out on the property.

Recycling centers have the facilities and tools to properly take apart and recycle your fan.

Your recycling center can also tell you what hazardous materials you need to remove before putting the fan in a recycling bin.

Some centers will take your complete fan with all of the parts.

Other centers follow strict guidelines (often mandated by the city) on what they can and can not take.

Are Electric Fans Recyclable?

Most electric fans are recyclable.

Don’t throw an electric fan in the trash before checking with your local guidelines for waste disposal.

It may be illegal to dump electric or smart fans in the garbage.

Usually, you will be legally required to dispose of your electric fan at a waste disposal center or recycling center.

Since each county, city, and state in the United States (and in other countries) might follow different guidelines, it’s always best to check first.

Can You Recycle Broken Fans?

Yes, most broken fans can be recycled.

Even if the broken fan can not be fully repaired, some of the fan parts can often be refurbished and reused.

Don’t immediately discard your fan in the trash just because it’s broken.

Often, recycling centers or organizations like the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and Goodwill (to name a few), will gladly take your old fan off of your hands.

Even if you don’t want to give a broken fan away, you can still “upcycle” it.

Check out this short video that shows one cool idea for what to do with a broken fan:

YouTube video by DIY Big Boom—Can I put a fan in the trash?

How To Throw a Fan In The Trash

If you decide to put your fan in the trash, I recommend that you follow the steps in this section.

First, take your fan apart.

Many fans are bulky and dangerous if they are not taken apart.

Bag the parts separately to avoid any potential danger of shock or injury.

Don’t forget to remove any hazardous materials before throwing your fan in the garbage.

Next, you can take your fan to any of these locations:

  • Garbage Transfer Station—Transfer stations receive garbage before it goes to the landfill or incinerator.
  • Landfil—Landfills are where all trash is dumped and compacted before being buried or burned.

If your fan is small (such as a desk fan), you can place it in your normal household garbage can.

Example City Rules: Can I Throw a Fan in The Garbage in Louisville, Kentucky

I thought it might be helpful to briefly go over an example of city rules.

In Louisville, Kentucky (where I lived for a few years), you can dispose of large household items at one specific location.

The city collects certain large household items only a few times per year.

Electronics must be disposed of at a single specific location in the city.

Anything else is considered illegal dumping.

Ok, that’s Louisville, but what about a bigger city?

How Do You Dispose of Fans in New York City (NYC)?

According to the New York City sanitation department, you can recycle or throw away your fans.

If your fan is in working condition, they recommend that you sell or recycle it.

However, you can even leave your broken fan on the side of the street for garbage pick up.

Final Thoughts: Can I Put a Fan in the Trash?

Rules and laws differ by country, state, city (and country).

It’s always a good idea to check with your local waste company and recycling center before disposing of your fan.

The last thing you want to do is get in trouble for illegal trash disposal.

What to read next:


New York City Government Website

Scroll to Top